|Northern Colorado backup punter in court Tuesday for motions hearing|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 03 July 2007 00:06|
Mitch Cozad faces an attempted first-degree murder charge and was to testify Tuesday at a motions hearing in a Greeley courtroom, his lawyer Joseph Gavaldon said. Cozad's mother will also testify for the defense.
Cozad is accused of leaving a 3- to 5-inch deep gash in Rafael Mendoza's kicking leg during a Sept. 11 ambush. Police have said they believe Cozad stabbed Mendoza in an attempt to get the starting job, and the case drew quick comparisons to the assault by Tonya Harding's associate on Nancy Kerrigan.
Cozad, of Wheatland, Wyo., has pleaded not guilty and remains free on $500,000 bail. If found guilty of attempted murder, he could face up to 48 years in prison.
The case is set to go to trial July 30.
At the previous motions hearing in May, prosecutor Michele Meyer called four witnesses: two Evans, Colo., police officers; a university police officer; and Nathan Cole, the university's coordinator for student rights and responsibilities.
Cole testified about bringing an eviction notice and a no-trespass letter to Cozad's dorm room on Sept. 12. Cozad, who was suspended from the university and kicked off the team, had an hour to vacate his dorm room.
While Cozad waited in Cole's office for his mother to pick him up, Evans police arrived, handcuffed Cozad and took him away, Cole said.
Florence Mendoza, the mother of Rafael Mendoza, attended the last court hearing. She said her son still struggles to put the attack behind him.
``I think he's doing the best he can to handle it,'' she said.
Rafael Mendoza returned to the team just two weeks after the attack and averaged 39.9 yards on 56 punts last season, even though he's had to alter his style because he can't fully extend his punting leg.